Analyst Rips Cowboys Loss as ‘Most Intense Flag Football Game Ever’

Mike McCarthy Cowboys

Getty The Cowboys' Mike McCarthy vents to referees during the Cowboys' loss to the Raiders.

The Dallas Cowboys fell to the Las Vegas Raiders in overtime on Thanksgiving Day.

The Cowboys lost in overtime, 33-30, as Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson nailed a 29-yard game-winning field goal to hand Dallas their third straight loss against AFC West opponents.

While that is certainly concerning enough in itself, the amount of penalties called during the game were even more concerning. The Cowboys were flagged for 14 penalties for 166 total yards.

But none was more controversial than cornerback Anthony Brown’s fourth penalty — the last occurring on a 3rd-and-18 conversion by the Raiders. The 33-yard penalty automatically gave the Raiders the ball on the Cowboys’ 24-yard-line.

Cowboys Loss is ‘Most Intense Flag Football Game Ever’

Needless to say, media and fans had a field day with the game, which had 28 accepted penalties for 276 total yards.

Cowboys staff writer Nick Eatman ripped the game by calling it the “most intense flag football game ever.”

“Hey, I’ve played the sport in college,” said Eatman. “Even played it once with a guy who was calling the game today for CBS, and another time here recently. But today was the most-attended game of “Flag Football” that I’ve ever seen.

This was tackle football with pads and helmets, yet the flags were the story of the game.

And that’s a shame. Just should not ever be the case. Trust me, this isn’t about the final outcome. But 28 accepted penalties is absurd. And yes, both teams got 14 called each. But it was so bad that even though I’d prefer to see the Cowboys win this game, I was getting annoyed by the holding calls they were calling on the Raiders in the fourth quarter – it was just “enough is enough.””

The game was the most penalized NFL matchup since the Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were flagged for a combined 29 times during a 2016 game.

The call was even more draining because the Cowboys had pulled off a major momentum-swinging play when they sacked Derek Carr for a loss of seven yards to force the 3rd-and-18 conversion.

The Cowboys will have a week to think about all of those flags as they look to bounce back versus the New Orleans Saints in Week 13.

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Cowboys Could Have Adjusted to Flow of Play

While Eatman rips the referees for the amount of flags thrown, he does admit that the Cowboys should have adjusted to the flow of play.

“Honestly, I give the Raiders credit for adjusting to that much more than the Cowboys,” says Eatman. “Because after the game, I kept asking players about the penalties and how you have to change your approach knowing the game is getting called that way.

Well, the Raiders found out early they could throw it deep on Brown and good things were going to happen – whether or not the ball was catchable or if the receiver even knew where the ball was. Either way, it was a good chance the flag was getting thrown.

Why didn’t the Cowboys try that more as well? Yeah, they threw some down the field and a lot of them were caught. But it seems like it should’ve been something to try a little more after seeing the way the game was getting officiated.”

While the referees deserve blame for some of the calls made, it also falls on the Cowboys for being an undisciplined team. Dallas has committed 91 penalties this season (8.3 penalties per game), which is the most of any team in the NFL this season.

If the Cowboys are to enter the postseason as a true Super Bowl contender, they’ll have to clean up some of those miscues.

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